The huge blast at Beirut port has killed at least 137 people, left dozens missing and at least 5,000 wounded, a Lebanese health ministry spokesperson said Thursday.
Tuesday’s explosion obliterated part of the port and caused damage over a wide radius in the heart of the city, prompting fears the final death toll could yet rise significantly.
French President Emmanuel Macron left Paris for Lebanon on Thursday on a first visit by a world leader to Beirut after the deadly port blast, the Elysee Palace said.
Macron’s plane took off just before 0600 GMT and was scheduled to land in the devastated city at around 0900 GMT where the French president was to meet “all political actors” including President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
Macron will seek to rally urgent aid for Lebanon but is also expected to press for overdue reform in France’s ex-colony, just two days after the blast — blamed on an unsecured store of ammonium nitrate at the Beirut port — killed over 100 people and destroyed entire neighbourhoods.
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